14 things I learned about personal growth, goal-setting, & systems in 2021

Part 1dealing with tough times, emotions, the health of the mind, and one’s sense of self (#1-11)

Part 2 – people, relationships, existence, & love (#12-20)

This is Part 3 of 3 of 2021 lessons – personal growth, goals, and systems (#21-33)

🧠 On developing a growth mindset

21. Growth mindset can come and go. It’s something that you can fall in and out of. Sometimes we have a growth mindset in one area, but a fixed mindset in another. The good news is that we can always work our way back into the growth mindset by challenging our limiting beliefs.

22. Don’t be afraid of being wrong. Especially if it means you will end up learning something new by taking the risk of being wrong.

Sometimes, it is wise to allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them, instead of being paralyzed in inaction for the fear of not being right or perfect.

Balance risk-taking with reflection to reach wisdom, instead of trapping yourself and your growth with self-imposed limits.

23. Forget about talent. Don’t let the idea of talent, or someone else doing something better than you stop you from trying something new, even if it is challenging.

If you put the time in, and enjoy the work, you will improve over time (growth mindset!).

The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except for those who sang best.

Henry Van Dyke

24. Play the long game [IMPORTANT]. There’s a quote that I read that was something along the lines of:

“We overestimate what we can achieve in a day, and underestimate what we can accomplish in a year.”

With this blog, I didn’t set a schedule to write each week as many people suggest. I set a certain number of posts I wanted to complete soon, then showed up to write whenever I had ideas. Over the next 8 months, I was able to complete 40 posts.

This is not something I would be able to get done if I played the short-term game and got discouraged over not writing for a few weeks and gave up.

So the long-term approach is a lot easier to do and actually helps you get things done as you keep your focus on the long-term positive trend of your progress, instead of the day-to-day lows.

🎯 On tackling goals & making systems

25. Only start 1 or 2 new goals/habits at a time [VERY IMPORTANT!].

Only move onto a new habit when you feel like you’ve become relatively consistent in keeping up with your first habit, then you can start working on another one on the side if you wish. Because your habit is set in place, your chances of accomplishing your goal are actually higher now.

Note: if you are someone who wants to try out new things the moment inspiration hits, you can add the new ideas onto a goals wishlist so you can try them out after you’ve found stability in your current habits. That way you don’t start a bunch of things and get nothing done.

26. Determine a vision/purpose before you set yourself to work on something. It will prevent you from getting distracted by both external and internal factors.

Ex. if you know you are trying out cooking to relax and make edible food, then seeing someone’s excellent cooking skills, praise for them, and your own self-doubt won’t get in the way of you continuing to cook.

Your goal is to do something fun and get edible food out of it, so you’ll only focus on that instead of constantly changing your goalposts based on ever-changing external factors and feelings.

27. Don’t announce your goals until they’re completed [VERY IMPORTANT]. This way you’ll actually get stuff done. This one made a significant change in my life (thanks to having read the book Ego is the Enemy!).

By completing my goals in silence, not only was I able to develop a better sense of trust in myself, I realized a benefit of this approach is that you’re not allowing other people’s doubt to shake your confidence in the very early and delicate phase of working on something new.

Your only focus is on seeing your vision through to the end, so you do.

28. Set goals according to your current capacity. At least start from there. If you say that you want to read 5 books each month, just try reading one month and see how much you can actually get done.

That way you can first gain a realistic estimate of your current capacity, and work your way up as you increase your capacity. Or you can adjust your goal to be more realistic and sustainable to fit your current lifestyle.

29. Be okay with quitting. Prioritize. When you set a purpose before doing something, it can give you an idea of how much you actually wish to commit to it, or how long you are willing to stick to it.

That way, if you drop your new hobby of painting, for example, you won’t blame yourself for being so “flakey” and “non-committal”. You’ll just know it wasn’t that important to you and quit- invest your time elsewhere.

In many scenarios, that initial purpose becomes a guiding compass.

🎬 On taking action in general

30. Balance dreaming with taking action. By taking action on your dreams you gain more information on what works and what doesn’t work.

It gives you a realistic view of what the road that takes you to the completion of your vision actually looks like.

Dreaming too long and building up a feel-good world inside your head is calling for a rude awakening when you finally take your first step and reality hits you.

31. What’s the next best thing to do? If you feel paralyzed out of the fear of not being able to make the right decision, you can ask yourself this question to make the next best imperfect decision, instead of getting hung up and frozen.

What dish to cook? What career decision to make? What belief to hold? Do the next best thing you know, and the right choices will become more apparent to you with time as you start taking action.

32. Time is a gift and your friend. It allows us to gain wisdom from our hardships and weaknesses, a chance to improve ourselves, and to gain new skills and improve.

To learn new things, make time your friend, and show up to practice or learn each day, even if you’re not doing great on some days in between.

Practice x consistency = growth + improvement. Sometimes, time is more needed for growth than some clever quick strategy.

33. Automate your mind and body. Instead of exhausting your limited reserve of willpower, turn some activities into habits. Instead of reminding and pushing yourself to do that thing, let your body urge you to do that task.

Anchoring new habits to old habits can help you sustain them better. Play the long game and keep trying for however many weeks it takes to solidify your new habit. It will pay off in the long run.

Training your body to work on auto-pilot- It’s one of the laziest ways of being productive🦥😎🦥



  1. Taylor says:

    This post is amazing! I’ve read plenty of personal growth posts but I think this one is more grounded in the nature of what personal growth truly is. Its progress, not perfection. We have this habit of listening to what others have already accomplished and trying so desperately to mimick what they did to get where they’re at. I had to see for myself that it’s simply just a journey. I’ll get to my destination in due time. No worries! 🙂 Faiza i love your content!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Faiza says:

      Taylor, thank you so much for leaving such a lovely comment again! Honestly, it means a lot to me ❤

      You're so right about us having the habit of trying to copy other people's journeys and ways. But recently I started to realize, especially after reading Letters to a Young Poet, that I can only start to do better once I cut out this outside voice for a bit and see what I can learn from my own life experience- how I can train and strengthen my own inner voice and let that guide me too.

      Thanks again for your time to read and your kind comment, I quite appreciate it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nayla Mitha says:

    Love this post Faiza! There are so many words of wisdom within it. I can really relate to the point about determining your vision/purpose before you set yourself to work on something – know your “why” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Faiza says:

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Nayla! 🙂


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